News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Sept. 22, 2011: A year ago, U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged he stood at the UN General Assembly podium and called for an independent Palestine. But a year later he has changed his tune as he prepares for the 2012 election; as Republican question his support for Israel and as a new poll shows his support among Jewish American voters is slipping.
As the Palestinians make a bid at the U.N for membership, Obama used his speech Wednesday to ensure his pro-Israel stance was more well known, but stopped short of saying Palestine should not pursue its UN bid.
Instead, Obama said: “”Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.,” Obama declared in a speech to a standing-room-only opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. “If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”
He also insisted: “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.”
The speech won support from Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Still Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is not changing his mind from seeking full U.N. membership, a move that sets the stage for a U.S. veto, but one that could help shore up Obama’s sagging support among Jews.
Under U.N. procedures, Abbas would present a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting recognition. Ban would pass the application to the council. Palestinian officials have said that Lebanon, the current council president, has agreed to sponsor a resolution. It is uncertain, however, when a vote would be held.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has so far countered Obama by calling on the United Nations to admit Palestine as a non-member state, upgrading its status as a simple observer but opposing a Palestinian bid for full membership.
Also supporting the bid Wednesday was Guyana President, Bharrat Jagdeo, who told the body the Palestinian people deserve the right to full statehood.